Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Bodhidharma's route to China

Hybrid View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    147
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default Bodhidharma's route to China

    Hi all,

    I?fm looking for information about what route Budhidarma took to get from India to China. And if anyone knows about any explorations about what route Budhidarma took to China done in modern time that supports any of the older theories that exists?

    Cordially,

    Robert
    Robert Liljeblad
    Stockholm Norra Shibu
    Swedish Shorinjikempo Federation
    www.shorinji-kempo.se

  2. #2
    Jim Perkins Guest

    Default silk road

    Robert the silk road was the main travel route at that time do some searchs on that and you will most like find what you are looking for here a good site to start with
    BUDDHISM AND ITS EXPANSION
    Hope this Helps! Jim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    For a while now, many people have been hearing that martial arts had its roots in India. But where in India... what art would it have been? Some tried to link the grappling art of Vajramushti as Kung-Fu's predesessor even though it resembles Greek Pankration wrestling. Others with the Punjabi art of Gatka which is a sword fencing art. However, during the 1990s the Kerala art of Kalaripayattu has came out from the dark. Many people seeing this art with its martial arts type of kicks, punches, and weaponry have were convinced that this must be the art which Kung-Fu has originated from. There are a lot of web sites and articles stating that the art of Kalaripayattu was the martial arts introduced by an Indian prince turned monk by the name of Daruma Bodhidarma to China. As a matter of fact many have jumped to the conclusion that it was the mother all martial arts.

    Firstly, there is no connection whatsoever between Kalaripayattu and Kung-Fu. Kalaripayatttu was formed around the 13th century and Daruma Bodhidarma was alive around the 6th century who traveled to China. There is a 700 year gap between him and the formation of Kalaripayattu. Also, Daruma Bodhidarma was born in the ancient Pallava kingdom of Kanchipuram which is situated in the state of present day Tamil Nadu where Kalaripayattu is not a native art of the state. As a matter of fact Tamil Nadu itself has several martial arts which predate Kalaripayattu thousands of years and are even mentioned in the Tamil literature such as the Silappadikaram during the Sangam Age of the 1st century A.D. Another piece of Tamil literature which mentions of these martial arts is called the Purunaruru (Four Hundreds songs on War and Wisdom) written around 500 B.C.E.

    Another thing I would like to point out is that India was not in existence before the arrival of the British around the 1600s. It was the British who unified the states and other regions into India along with Burma and Pakistan. Before the British, the Indian sub-continent consisted of many countries and kingdoms. The latest parts of the sub-continent to be brought into the Indian Union were the 5 French territories of Pondicherry in 1956. Before that, it was Assam, Manipur, and the other Eastern states which came under the British rule and became part of their India during the late 1800s which can be found at Thang Ta: Martial Art of Manipur. At one time the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and even parts of Sri Lanka were originally called Tamil Akkam. It was one Tamil administration with three major dynasties being the Pandyan, Cholas, and the Cheras. The Pallavas were also part of Tamil Akkam at one time. However, their empire was divided by Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh. The land where the Cheras ruled later came to be known as Kerala where they formed their own language out of Tamil called Malayalam.

    As a Matter of fact, Tamil Akkam had such a powerful army and navy in Southern India and Sri Lanka, that not even the Mauryan Empire of Asoka could over power it. It is amazing how Emperor Asoka was able to conquer from North India to Pakistan, Afghanistan and much of central India, but could not conquer Tamil Akkam! This was probably due to their martial expertise as well. Much information can be found along with a map of the Mauryan Empire of Asoka in K.A. Nilakanta Sastri's Age of the Nandas and Mauryas. Another good book to read on this would be Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas by Romlia Thapar. Here is a link to the map of the extent of Asoka's Empire


    Going back to Kalaripayattu, it resembles a lot like Ninjitsu. This art may have been modified over the years to its present state. As for the Martial Arts of Tamil Nadu and Northern Sri Lanka, they are called Kuttu Varisai (empty hand combat), Varma Kalai (pressure point study), and an array of weapons arts. Kuttu Varisai resembles a mix of both Karate and Kung Fu having its own animal forms too. There is one stance in Kuttu Varisai which resembles the horse stance which is found in Kung Fu and Karate. However, it is called the Bear stance.

    There are many weapons arts and each weapon is a mastery of its own. One of the most famous one is called Silambam which is similar to the Bo staff fighting in Japan. There are a total of 96 Katas for this art. Another weapon is the Erathai or the double stick similar to the Filipino Kali or Sinawali. There are two unique weapons which are not found outside of Southern India which is the Surul Pattai (steel blade whip) and the Madhu (deer horns). Other weapons arts of the Tamil country are the Val Vitchi (single sword) and the Eretthai Val (double short sword).

    Between the 2nd to 12th century AD the Pallavas and the Cholas have done intensive sea trade with Southeast Asian kingdoms like that of Angkor (Cambodia), Sri Vijaya (Indonesia) and even as far as China. It is possible that the Pallavas may have had contact with Japan during their seafaring naval expeditions. A good source on that would be in the book titled Traditional Cultural Link between India and Japan (During the 8th and 9th centuries) written by Dr. Kalpakam Sankarnaryan and Dr. Motohiro Yoritomi. There is a possibility the inhabitants of the islands of Japan may have adopted certain forms of Kuttu Varisai and Silambam by the Pallavas. Silambam which might be precursors to Kendo, Ken-Jutso, and Karate.

    During the Chola Empires zenith between the 10th and 12th centuries they had conquered much of Southern India and Eastern parts going through Manipur, Assam, and Southern Burma. There empire stretched to as far south as Sri Lanka & Maldives, and to the East was Sumatra, Java, and Malaysia (Kadaram). Their martial arts must have been one of their exports along with various other arts like dance, architecture, and the Tamil version of the Ramayana. The Ramayana (or Ramayanan, Ramavataram) was re-written from Sanskrit to Tamil by the sage Kavicakravarti Kamban of the 9th century A.D. of the Chola kingdom of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu. There are certain moves which are in Muay Thai which are called the Hanuman or Lim Lom. Hanuman was a warrior in the Ramayana epic. Three sources on this can be found in Cholas by K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, Mystery of the Maldives by Thor Heyerdahl, and Muay Thai: The Most Distinguished Art of Fighting written by Panya Kraithat and Pitisuk Kraitus.

    As for the Shaolin, it may be possible that Daruma Bodhidarma did go there and introduced Dhyan [Zen (in Japanese), Chan (in Chinese)]. The absence of fighting forms in China before Daruma Bodhidarma is absolutely false. If there was no fighting form in China, then how did there armies fight which most definitely predates the arrival of Daruma Bodhidarma? There were fighting forms in China. It was Daruma Bodhidarma who introduced his concept of breathing exercises, the arts of the vital points and the 18 Lohan which can be seen in Kuttu Varisai of present day Tamil Nadu. His introduction of these Dravidian combat forms and exercises was adopted by the Chinese which later evolved into Kung - Fu. However, Bodhidarma was also not the only Sage who went to China.

    There was another Tamil sage who travelled to China well before him around the 5th century B.C. by the name of Boghar Siddha. He was accompanied by Lao Tse the founder of Taosim and who was the first Chinese to propound the theory of duality of matter -- the male Yang and female Yin -- which conforms to the Siddha concept of Shiva - Shakti or positive-negative forces. In Tamil, Yin and Yang translates to Idai Nadi (female, moon) and Pingelai Nadi (male, sun). The unification of the two becomes Lingam which is a symbol of Siva. The Sanskrit adaptation of the Yin and Yang is Shiv and Shakt (or Siva and Shakti). The Sanskrit translation of the unification of Shiv and Shakt is called Prana. Prana is "breath" and is understood as the vital, life-sustaining force of living beings and the vital energy in all natural processes of the universe.

    Acupuncture from Tamil Akkam was also introduced to parts of Asia. This was called Varma Cuttiram also known as Varma Kalai. Originally formed as a medicinal healing art, this can also be used to maim and even kill people. Arts in China which relate to the Varma arts are Tai Chi and Dim Mak.

    In Southeast Asia the arts of Krabi Krabong in Thailand and Silat in Indonesia bear a lot of resemblances of the Dravidian warfare arts of Southern India. The animalistic styles and even forms of animism found in Silat are also found in Kuttu Varisai where invokes a specific animal spirit or energy into ones body. Many Chola and Pallava Naval and Merchant ships landing in parts of Southeast Asia have not only brought with them the Hindu and Buddhist religions, but the martial arts as well which fused with the indigenous fighting styles of Southeast Asia. Source Tamil Merchant Guild in Sumatra written by K.A. Nilakanta Sastri.

    In the Bible in the book of Solomon and Esther it mentions about trade and contact with India. The term India was used in the King James Version which was translated from Hebrew and Greek during the 1600s and the rise of the British Empire. The King James came about after the British took control over many kingdoms and countries forming it into one British Administration and giving the name India. India is actually a Latin word for Indo or Indus in Greek which is Hindu in the Persian language of Farsi near Iran and Pakistan. In the Tamil texts it mentions about King Solomon’s trade and contact with the Chera, Pandya, and Chola kingdoms of Tamil Akkam. King Solomon was not the only one in contact with the Dravidian kingdoms but Rome, Greece, and Egypt. This information can be found in Foreign Notices of South India: from Megasthenes to Ma Huan written by K.A. Nilakanta Sastri. Other than spices, precious stones, silk, and exotic animals being exported to Rome, Greece and the Middle East, weapons and fighting styles were exported as well. The Romans and the Greeks who traveled to Tamil Akkam were known by the ancient Tamils as the Yavanas. Weapons like the trident amongst others were imported to Rome including certain fighting forms which were used in gladiatorial fights in Rome. More information can be found in Silambam fencing from India by Manuel J. Raj and The Commerce Between the Roman Empire and India by E.H. Warmington.

    There are even older fighting styles found on the African continent which may have found its way to the Indian sub-continent and from Australia. These are known as Dambe of Nigeria which one hand is bound for punching, and kicking and head butting are allowed. Similar arts to Dambe are Adi Thada of the Tamils, and Muay Thai of Thailand. The Ringa wrestling of Madagascar is similar to the Tamil wrestling called Malyutham. Amongst the many fighting styles and sports of Africa is the Savika bull fight which can also seen in the Tamil Nadu and parts of Northeastern Sri Lanka bull fights known as Jalli Kattu. Ancient Tamil texts mention of an ancient land mass connecting India with Australia and Madagascar. It also mentions names of cities and rivers which lie beneath the Indian Ocean today. The Indian sub-continent and Australia both lay on the same tectonic plate called the Indo-Australian plate. The tsunami of December 2004 also proved the Lemurian theory when it washed back a couple of miles exposing temples and artifacts in the Bay of Bengal near Mammalapuram, Tamil Nadu. That was the fourth tsunami recorded in the history of South Asia. The third was during the early 1900s. In the Tamil Silappadikaram it also mentions of a great flood or tsunami which wiped out an ancient Pandyan city. An interesting book which goes into detail is called The Lost Land of Lemuria: Fabulous Geographies by Sumathi Ramaswamy The resemblances between Tamils, Malayalees, Australian aborigines and East African are very close. There is an ancient weapon that was used in Tamil Akkam called the Valari which resembles the Boomerang of Australia. The Velari was shaped like the boomerang, but was tipped with a metal blade. Here is an article written by Dr. S. Jayabarathi Jaybee on the Valari Weapon

    In conclusion, martial arts of India today were actually the martial art of Tamil Akkam thousands of years back and not ancient India. India or the Indian Union did not come into play until after the arrival of the British around the 1600s. Kalari Payat is a very dynamic martial art with an array of weaponry including pressure point attacks and massage. However, it does not go any further back than the 13th century as quoted from Phillip Zarilli's When the Body Becomes All Eyes: Paradigms, Discourses and Practices of Power in Kalarippayattu, a South Indian Martial Art . Daruma Bodhidarma was also well alive almost 700 hundred years before the formation of Kalaripayattu. There were also many other sages and monks who have travelled from present day Southern India to China well before Daruma Bodhidarma.

    Here are some related links:

    Lost city found off Indian coast
    Tsunami throws up India relics
    Varma Kalai martial art of Tamil Nadu
    Silambam (staff fighting) of Tamil Nadu
    Kalairpayattu martial art of Kerala

    Johnny Raj
    Last edited by P Goldsbury; 21st July 2006 at 09:28. Reason: Name

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    147
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default What route?

    Hi Jingo!

    Interesting indeed!

    If I understand you right, you argue that there are other ways that martial arts may have traveled from India (or what it was called at that time) to China than with Budhidaruma! That might be true and I do not know about that.

    My interest is what way Budhidarma took from India to China. By boat? The silk route? Or any other way?

    Cordially,

    Robert
    Robert Liljeblad
    Stockholm Norra Shibu
    Swedish Shorinjikempo Federation
    www.shorinji-kempo.se

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    20
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Liljeblad
    Hi Jingo!

    Interesting indeed!

    If I understand you right, you argue that there are other ways that martial arts may have traveled from India (or what it was called at that time) to China than with Budhidaruma! That might be true and I do not know about that.

    My interest is what way Budhidarma took from India to China. By boat? The silk route? Or any other way?

    Cordially,

    Robert
    Hi Robert:

    Two resources might offer some help. First, "The Bodhidharma Anthology" by Jeffrey Broughton. This contains the earliest texts relating to Bodhidharma, including those found early in the 20th century at Tung Huang caves.

    Also the "Shaolin Grandmasters' Text" has some relevant material. They quote from Broughton, but they have additional material which might be more relevant to martial arts history.

    If you are going to be doing this research I have to gently point out that the correct spelling is "Bodhidharma". In Chinese: Ta Mo. In Japanese: Daruma.

    The standard story of Bodhidharma coming to China is that he arrived by boat, leaving from Southern India and arriving in China in Canton. The date is about 520. The Southern route was well established at that time and Buddhist missionaries were regularly going to Malaysia and Indonesia. So it is not unusual for a Buddhist monk to use this route.

    The Silk Route was the earlier route for the spreading of Buddhism and it is the original source for the introduction of Buddhism into China. It was a long and sometimes dangerous journey that went through what today is Pakistan, Afghanistan, turning east over Tibet, then entering China in the far northwest of that Country. Buddhist missionaries became established in China somewhere between 100 B.C. and 100 A.D., roughly.

    The southern route to India by boat was quicker and as soon as it opened up it was used a great deal. Still, the Silk Route remained a major means for the spread of Buddhism until the Moslem invasion cut it off.

    Good luck on your researches.

    Jim Wilson
    Dharmajim

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Washington State, USA
    Posts
    3,324
    Likes (received)
    48

    Default

    According to Stan Henning, Bodhidharma arrived in Shaolin-ssu via the Paper Road.

    Specifically, look to the novelist Liu E, whose book, "The Travels of Tao T'san," was published in 1907. The novel was very popular, and so, over the next decade or so, this connection between Bodhidharma and Shaolin-ssu was further embellished and adopted. Here, the most important version is probably Guo Xifen's "Secrets of Shaolin Boxing Methods" (1919). The Nationalists used the latter book as a physical education text, and so lots and lots of schoolboys were taught its stories as Gospel.

    For more on this, see Henning's essays in "Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia" and "Martial Arts in the Modern World," his essay, "On Politically Correct Treatment of Myths in the Chinese Martial Arts," and Brian Kennedy's discussion in "Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Svinth
    The Nationalists used the latter book as a physical education text, and so lots and lots of schoolboys were taught its stories as Gospel.
    Are you talking about Chinese Nationalists or Indian Nationalists?

    Johnny Raj

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •